Coconut Chocolate Pudding

Coconut Chocolate Pudding Recipe

My best chocolate pudding recipe to date. It took me almost thirty dollars in premium chocolate and four lackluster attempts to eventually come up with a chocolate pudding recipe special enough to share with you. I made not only bland, flat, and gelatinous puddings, but also runny and boring chocolate puddings before I finally turned out this keeper of a batch. It is deeply dark and impossibly chocolatety, rich, glossy, fragrant, and un-lumpy. I used a coconut milk base in place of dairy, and infused it with a whisper of warming spices to give it an unexpected, ambiguously exotic je ne sais quoi.

On my journey to the final recipe, I ran into a few issues and problems that needed to be addressed. I had a pudding in mind - it would be a serious and sophisticated dark chocolate pudding made with a coconut milk base, arrowroot would be used as the thickener, non-alkalized cocoa powder (not dutched) would be enlisted, as would a semi-sweet chocolate bar. I'm usually relatively close to the mark when I imagine how ingredients might come together into a final creation or recipe, but my first attempt here was remarkably off. The pudding took almost twelve hours to achieve any sort of set, and even then it was on the runny side. It dawned on me the acidity in the non-alkalized cocoa powder might be rendering the arrowroot thickener ineffective, so I corrected for that variable and made changes a bit at a time over the course of five batches until I finally had a chocolate pudding recipe that matched the one in my imagination.

So here it is! The great thing is it only takes a few minutes of active cooking time. You can play around with a few of the variables - for example, it might be fun to use one of those uniquely-spiced Vosges chocolate bars in place of the straight semi-sweet. If you want to use regular or low-fat milk, give it a go. You can use cornstarch, but it didn't deliver the smooth glossy texture and sheen that came with using arrowroot powder. I also mention a few other variables to play with in the recipe head notes.

Coconut Chocolate Pudding Recipe

I used Scharffen Berger 62% semi-sweet chocolate in this pudding, I also did a batch with 70% - delicious. You can play around with a few of the variables here. For example, it might be fun to use one of the uniquely spiced Vosges chocolate bars in place of the straight semi-sweet. I used raz el hanout spice blend here - but you should feel free to experiment with your favorite curry spice blend. If you want to use regular or low-fat milk in place of the coconut milk, give it a go. For a more pronounced coconut flavor, you might want to add a small splash of coconut extract.

1 14-ounce can of coconut milk (lite is fine), divided
3 tablespoons sugar
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup arrowroot powder, sifted
1 teaspoon raz el hanout spice blend or curry powder, (optional)
3 tablespoons alkalized dutch-cocoa powder, sifted
1 3.5-ounce bar semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut flakes, toasted in a dry skillet

Shake the can of coconut milk vigorously for a few seconds. In a heavy saucepan bring 1 1/4 cups of the coconut milk, sugar, and the salt (just) to a simmer over low heat.

While that is heating, in a seperate bowl whisk together the remaining coconut milk, arrowroot powder, spice blend (or curry powder), and cocoa powder. It should look like a chocolate frosting.

When the coconut milk and sugar mixture has started simmering take about 1/4 cup of it and whisk it little by little into the arrowroot mixture, creating a slurry. Turn down the heat to the very lowest setting. Now drizzle the arrowroot slurry mixture into the simmering pan of coconut milk whisking vigorously all the while. Keep whisking until the pudding comes back up barely to a simmer and thickens up a bit, about a minute.

Remove the saucepan from heat, continue whisking while it is cooling for about a minute. Now whisk in the chocolate and vanilla. Keep stirring until the pudding is smooth. Place in a refrigerator to chill thoroughly. To prevent a skin from forming press plastic up against the surface of the pudding. Serve dusted with the coconut flakes and a tiny pinch of spices (orcurry powder).

Serves four.


I send an email roughly once a week, sharing new recipes and cooking inspiration. - xo heidi
Heidi Swanson


Huh, I always thought chocolate pudding was so simple and easy to make. But isn't chemistry funny, how if you alter one ingredient (like alkalized verses dutch cocoa powder) it can throw the whole balance off. I'm sorry about all that wasted chocolate, but I'm glad we get to reap the benefits of your trials and successes. I like the chocolate-coconut combination, it makes wonderful sorbet as well.


My mouth is watering!!!!!!! =)


That looks/sounds truly delightful, Heidi--can't wait to try it!

Eric Gower

I would LOVE a lesson from your dad on tapioca pudding! There's nothing like a nice warm bowl of homemade tapioca on a cold night...and fall's coming!


I make tapioca (sometimes even large pearl!!!) with goat's milk. Wowowow!!!!
So good (especially with fresh strawberries). Just tapioca, goat's milk,
good vanilla. I think it would be pretty interesting with coconut milk too :-)


I second that request for tapioca recipes! I am a big fan of a tapioca (sago) recipe with melon and coconut milk, from my friend Didi Emmon's last cookbook. Other variations would be delightful.
What I love about this recipe is that it is dairy free (good for those of us with food allergies) and I am a fan of sweet and savory. I tend to make brownies with a little chipotle and ancho powder kick; I will definitely try this pudding variation with ras el hanout. World Spice market in Seattle stocks a great grind-as-you-use-it blend.


So yummy... Exotic and beautiful pudding.

Great work, Heidi!


This is making me hungry. I'm a big fan of any pudding, it's great stuff, but I too am partial to the tapioca. I just bought a bag of the large pearl variety for making bubble tea, but I might take a bit out for pudding experiments as well. Thanks for the inspiration.


Coconut + chocolate = YUM! I will be trying this one out for sure. Thanks!

.. and bring on the tapioca!


Mmmmmmmm...pudding. I'm so on it...

Sarah Mac

I believe "ambiguously exotic je ne sais quoi" is now my favorite phrase ever written.

Beautiful recipe. I must try this.

Too bad the daughter doesn't like coconut and the son doesn't like chocolate. This one is just for the grown folks.


Oh my goodness, the coconut milk and spice blend look like amazing additions.


Tapioca, please!!


People always make fun of me when I say my favorite dessert is pudding in a pie shell. It's so, um, white trash or something. My friend Melinda says, "You poor dear--pudding?".
I bet they wouldn't say that with this version :).
I love the chocolate/coconut combo. Can't wait to try it.


I have just been savoring the last of David Lebovitz' divine chocolate coconut sorbet (I used the lite coconut milk and it's plenty rich)... this looks equally divine! I can't wait to try it! Yum! And, YES on the tapioca!



so cute pudding

YOYO's Food

This is going to be a fun one to taste.... Thanks.

PLEASE share the Tapioca too!

I'll thank you again..... As I do often.


This is going to be a fun one.... Thanks.

PLEASE share the Tapioca!

I'll thank you again..... As I do often.


You are a wizard.


I was always good at custard and blancmange making never getting lumps when cooking in the conventional way but my dad uses the microwave for sauces and custards and I thought I would try. It's perfect and less washing up. I would welcome anyone's comments on microwave cooking. Do you think it is truly safe? I've had these emails telling me not to use plastic and try to heed this but....

Heidi A-P

Dear Barb
If you call it custard or blancmange as the Brits do maybe that would also add a bit of "je ne sais quoi" when describing it to your friends
Try calling it "pot chocolat" (I think theres an accent in there somewhere but don't know how to get it) as the French do. What's in a name though with something as delicious as this.

Heidi A-P

Now you're talking MY sort of food! I'm an unabashed chocoholic. Just looking at it makes me drool... and wanna cook!

Barry (The Unwilling Cook)

"Pot chocolat" with a French accent? Try "Po" (rhymes with slow) and "shock-oh-la" (rhymes with bar) - run it all together as one word and say it softly and sensuously. Voila!

Barry (The Unwilling Cook)

I admire your determination. Beautiful color combination. This is a must-try for a chocoholic like me. Thank you for the recipe.


Hi Heidi & everybody reading this,

As much as I love chocolate with coconut, I am a bit 'scared' by the curry... I can't think of anything I might have eaten with the curry+chocolate combo. Could you/someone please give another shot at describing this 'unexpected, ambiguously exotic je ne sais quoi' before I cowardly skip this recipe?



ps. Love your ideas by the way. Tried a few of them already, and they were delicious! I look forward to trying more.


!! I could smell the chocolate in the blogosphere that's how i came!!!!...well i am a fan of your delicious recipes and this one is a must!!
Thanks for the tips!!



What a dedicated pudding afficionado! This sounds really wonderful, I, too am all about the smoothness of pudding- I think tapioca lovers are a different breed. And I have a husband who actually likes the skin that forms on top!

Deborah Dowd

Decadence is my middle name. Thanks for this!


This looks really good! Gonna have to try it soon!

Coconut milk works surprisingly well in chocolate. You can make excellent vegan truffles with it instead of cream:


"It dawned on me the acidity in the non-alkalized cocoa powder might be rendering the arrowroot thickener ineffective..."

Yes. That is the conclusion I would reach, as well.

Actually, I'd probably just glare at the ingredients and eventually give up. :P

Wonderful recipe!


I made chocolate pudding 2 days ago. It was that "bland, flat, and gelatinous" type that you mention. I was quite disillusioned; but your new recipe has given me hope. I am excited to try it...v.


Ohh, YUM!! I can't wait to try this! Hmm, I think today!!!!!! Now mine won't have the gloss as I'll have to use cornstarch. It's hard to get arrowroot around here. :( I've been wanting a really good chocolate pudding.

Sap, give the curry a try! I have a little experience with spiced chocolate and it is good! and if you don't like it, you can always leave it out of the next batch.
-Gringa in Mexico-
Ps: count me in on the tapioca.


Wow, I think you have just invented my fiancees ideal pudding! He'll love me for this, so I'm on the hunt for arrowroot.
I reckon I will toast and grind my own spice mix, thinking cardamom, cinnamon and a whiff of chilli.


This sounds like the most delicious recipe! Since encountering Vosges Haut-Chocolat, I have been a great fan of spices in chocolate, and coconut milk sounds like an incredibly good addition. Does it require as much cornstarch as arrowroot?
Sapuccina, do give it a try! You would be surprised at the magic chocolate and curry make. You could always divide the recipe in half and only do the curry in one half. Or replace with your favorite spices (though I have it on fairly good authority that cumin does not work with chocolate.) Cardamom sounds marvelous, too.


Sounds delicious. I'm going to try this, as was suggested in an earlier comment, as a pudding pie. I wonder what kind of crust would work well? Something like an apple pie crust or a graham cracker crust?? Any suggestions?


I tried all (ate most of) the failures and I have to say they were all good. Not that I didn't want Heidi to get it perfect and make another batch...


Please, please share the tapioca pudding with us. I LOVE tapioca ... especially in the colder months of the year. I eat it warm with freshly whipped cream melting on top, but would definitely be up for a new twist on an old favorite.


i made it and ate some just now. i must thank you for this utterly delicious, wonderfully satifying pudding which looks as beautiful as your picture and tastes as good as you promised it would!


I would very much love a good tapioca recipe!

I also wanted to say that your journal has made me feel so much more empowered about cooking. I tried a roasted garlic recipe from one of your books and when I found that it wasn't quite what I wanted I was able to do research and come up with a recipe that did exactly what I was looking for. I've never "made up" a successful recipe in my life before now! :)


This looks wonderful and I will be trying it. And do bring us some tapioca recipes. Especially if you can make some that don't have little bits of egg yolk or white floating around in them. (A pet peeve.)


Er - what is non-alkalized cocoa powder, and can one get it in the UK?

I only quite like this sort of chocolate pudding (which my grandmother used to call "Thames Mud") so probably won't be trying this recipe, but it sounds very interesting.

I always like milk puddings more than I think I'm going to, but the very thought of tapioca makes me heave... horrible frogspawn!

Mrs Redboots

This recipe looks so delicious! When I read the recipe, I knew it was a winner. Thanks for sharing this with us. As a chocolate lover, this is mouthwatering!

Susan Billie Taylor

I've had curry truffles before and they are absolutely delicious. I'm imagining these will be similar. (chili ones are good too!)

Just a little clarification, please. In the write-up you say:
"non-alkalized cocoa powder (not dutched) would be enlisted"
and then ingredients list:
"3 tablespoons alkalized dutch-cocoa powder, sifted"

So is the correction noted to switch chocolates?


This looks so good. definitely going to try it.

I think if you try it as a pie.. maybe a shortbread cookie crust with some coconut thrown in the mix.

As far as chocolate curry.. I am addicted to Vosges Naga bar.. the combination is soo good.


She switched because of the reaction with the arrowroot.

"It dawned on me the acidity in the non-alkalized cocoa powder might be rendering the arrowroot thickener ineffective, so I corrected for that variable..."


Heidi: That is a ridiculously appetizing picture.


You've put two of my favourite things together and that picture looks so amazing! I don't usually eat pudding but I must save this recipe. :)


I would take tapioca (you can make it chocolate) over pudding any day. The time spent over the stove is well worth it. Your dad is spot on.


OMG--best textured, most delicious custard I ever made. Many, many thanks.



You realize, Heidi, that I am blaming you for making me obsessed with chocolate pudding tonight. Thankfully, I bought a fancy chai-flavored chocolate bar that I can use with my organic cocoa. Sadly I don't have arrowroot. I want some! In fact, I had a terrible time with a homemade pudding mix a month or so ago that I had to turn it into a chocolate cake.

Funny how that works.


Uncle Hannah

p.s. I want that table cloth

Uncle Hannah

Looks soooooooo good! Thanks for the recipe!


By the way, check out this funny soap site that has food-scented soaps such as this chocolate cupcake soap:

Kinda fun.

uncle Hannah

Add another request for tapioca - especially "big-eye" tapioca - for my husband who is on a low-potassium diet and has to stay away from chocolate for now and possibly forever (boo-hoo...) - fortunately he looves tapioco pudding.


So I read your blog religiously and I am constantly in awe over your beautiful yet healthful recipes. I am dying to get Super- Natural but being an art student is definitley making that difficult. I am a vegetarian quasi-vegan and I just love your blog. Ahh... I'm rambling. But yea...LOVE IT.


Oh how divine! Two of my favorite flavors, in a sophisticated (and gluten-free) combination. I will have to try making this soon.

Gluten-Free Bay

Where in the world did you find that tablecloth and those super cute bowls...i love them and this recipe sounds delicious

Allison white

The Cocunut Chocolate Pudding sounds delicious! I will definitely be giving that one a try. Thanks for sharing!


Hello Heidi,
I've been a fan of your site for a long while now. You've inspired a lot of cooking in my kitchen, thank you. This pudding sounds amazing. I'm so pleased there is as little sugar in it as there is; I have to watch my sugar intake. I wonder, though, if you've tried kuzu as a thickener, and what you think of it. It was recommended to me by a chef friend of mine to use in puddings. Thanks for this recipe, I'll make it for my sweetheart soon.


Forget the pudding, love the tablecloth!

Cate O'Malley

I learned about kuzu in culinary school (the natural gourmet in nyc) and think it's fantastic! First of all it is processed very little - just a japanese root that is powdered, unlike highly refined corn starch. It strengthens the digestive system, and is effective in relieving anxiety and promoting good sleep. I like to make a fruit pudding with 1/2 cup each of hempmilk and juice, with a heaping tablespoon of kuzu (make a slurry with some liquid) and bring to a simmer, stirring, until thick. Delicious and relaxing!

Heidi, you rock! Another vote for tapioca please!


Wow, that looks amazing!

(I am one who would definetely appreciate a good tapioca pudding recipe!!)


Using coconut milk for chocolate pudding sounds divine.


I saw an earlier note that chocolate and cumin may not go together...
Take heart, I'd love to whisper 3 little words to contradict....
...Chilli Con Carne
I will email anyone a recipe I use to do this if you send me an email. I made it up myself so might not be too traditional, but it really is tasty. And naughty.


I tried this pudding last night. Very good and fairly easy to make. My one suggestion, leave out or cut back on the curry powder. It is a bit over-powering for the recipe - especially if you use good chocolate! :-)


Wow, I've never been called a wizard before! I'm so happy to see that so many of you are excited about this. And Barry, I almost fell out of my chair over your po-shock-oh-la note - too funny.

Let's see, the tablecloth I picked up at Dwell in San Francisco a while back. The little cups, which seem to always be a hit when I use them, are on (hopefully permanent) loan from my mom!

I promise to hit my dad up for his tapioca techniques when I get back from Italy.

Thanks for weighing in on the kuzu Tree. -h


This sounds so amazing. I'm printing it right now and am looking forward to making it to get my chocolate fix AND sate the sweet tooth of my vegan boyfriend!


ooooooh, that looks so incredibly delicious I want to run home and start making it right now. And I don't even like coconut that much!


Hi Heidi: Your description has me drooling. However, for reasons too lengthy and tragic to go into here, I am trying to stay away from chocolate. Any ideas on other main flavoring options? Thanks!

Anne Marie

Thank you for such wonderful recipes. I also very much love the attitude and knowledge you have of cooking. It's a real inspiration.

If you do get the time, I would be very excited to hear about your dad's tapioca recipe!


have you tried throwing some of this in the ice cream maker she says wondering and pondering? I am new to my ice cream maker so I have no idea how it might turn out but I am intrigued.

ps - i gotthe hair dryer you recommended a while back - it's great thank you.


Heidi, could one use soy milk instead of coconut milk or whole milk (not partial to the flavor of coconut milk, and allergic to milk), or does that mess with consistency?

I've never been a "pudding person" before, but this makes me want to skip out of work early to shop for ingredients...


That is gorgeous. I would love to see your father's tapioca recipe!

Amanda von Stockhausen

ooo - pretty please post the tapioca recipe. yum. But the recipe on the tapioca box does not quite cut it. ;)


I'm looking forward to trying this out. Choco-coco is SUCH the winning combo. You might want to consider using tea masala, a dry blend of spices used for--what else--tea, and also to spice up (as well as increase digestibility of) hot milk.


Those cute little bowls look a lot like Nesting Lotus Bowls:

I haven't seen them in ages. Thanks, Heidi, for such a great site.


I made this last night, it was amazing, and had the exact same thought as sam; I put together another batch today and it'll go into the ice cream maker. THANK YOU!


when i was a little girl, my mom would make home made pudding in those same white lotus bowls. the image sent me right back there... waiting waiting for the pudding to cool, impatiently spooning it hot and thin into my mouth.


Does the coconut taste come through? This would be a big problem for this coconut-o-phobe..So if someone could answer the earlier question about soymilk....


Love the site, love the awesome pics!
Your work is an inspiration to me.
Keep it up.
Kind regards,


SO decadent!

Steamy Kitchen

Yum! Your recipe writing style is terrific -- keep 'em coming. And the photos, spectacular! Way to go local girl! (I would love your take on tapioca, so please count another vote.)


Now, that is one hell of a pudding. Well, about the covering with the plastic prevents the forming of that thick crust like appearance?

How about serving it hot, with coconut dust which has been which has been pickled in honey for about 2 days?


I made this as dessert for a recent dinner party -- the guests really enjoyed it, but it was way too thick and not quite as chocolatey as I'd hoped. I think part of the problem is that I let the coconut milk simmer too long while mixing up the arrowroot concoction, and therefore my proportions might have been off. Could it be that different brands of arrowroot have different 'strengths'? Anyway, I think next time I will start will less arrowroot and more melted chocolate.


I think someone else may have said this, but I love the fact that chocolate pudding can be dairy free. The coconut milk adds such great flavor too. One more fabulous recipe to add to my collection =)

Polish Pottery

yes to tapioca!!!! especially one with coconut milk in it!


Mmm. This looks delicious.


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